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    Posted on September 6th, 2010 uncle john 55 comments










    On August 9, 2010, the San Francisco Giants hosted a Jerry Garcia tribute night. It is the fifteenth anniversary of his death and there is a pre-game party behind the scoreboard near Triples Alley and a Grateful Dead cover band plays live music. Mickey Hart and Bill Walton share some memories of Jerry. Mickey talks about Garcia’s upbeat humor that kept a smile on their faces much of their time together. Mickey also shares the story behind the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” written in 1908 as a love story in which baseball decides the fate of a young couple. Everyone knows the chorus but Mickey fills us in on the lyrics written by Tin Pan Alley composer Jack Norworth (the music later added by Albert von Tilzer). In the song Katie Casey’s beau calls to ask her out to a show. She accepts the date but only if he will take her out to the ballgame.

     “Katie Casey was baseball mad
    Had the fever and had it bad.
    Just to root for the hometown crew,
    Ev’ry cent Katie blew.
    On a saturday her young beau
    Called to see if she’d like to go
    To see a show, but Miss Kate said, ‘No,
    I’ll tell you what you can do.’
    Take me out to the ballgame,
    Take me out with the crowd
    Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks
    I don’t care if I never get back
    Let me root, root, root for the home team
    If they don’t win, it’s a shame
    For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out
    At the old ballgame.”

    In the seventh inning stretch Grateful Dead drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart join with Bill Walton to lead over 40,000 people, over 9000 of them with kazoos, into humming or singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”.  It’s a world record-breaking event. The previous largest ensemble of kazoo players was at a Christian Youth conference in Salt Lake City in the summer of 2008 when over 5000 hummed the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” on their kazoos. You don’t blow into the instrument, you hum into it. It adds a buzzing timbral quality to a player’s voice. It’s a vocal instrument like a singing drum. It’s been used in jug bands and by some jazz artists. The Mills Brothers, known for their vocal harmonies, began in vaudeville as a kazoo quartet with one brother on guitar. A kazoo is used in the recording of “San Francisco Bay Blues” by Jesse Fuller in 1962 and again by Eric Clapton on MTV.  Kazoos can be heard on the Grateful Dead’s early album, “Anthem Of The Sun”. I am able to go onto the ball field before the game, in right field, a position I played in Little League. I am right-handed yet I bat left-handed because my Dad, who is left-handed, taught me that way. I wasn’t a good hitter but a few years later realized I could switch sides and it was much easier to make contact with the ball from the other side. In a ceremony before the start of the game, The San Francisco Giants donate $40,000 to the Rex Foundation, started by Grateful Dead members as a non-profit charitable organization to support endeavors and projects that build community, a healthy environment and educate people.  Phil Lesh and Bob Weir are joined by Furthur vocalist Jeff Pehrson to sing the National Anthem. Jerry Garcia’s daughter Annabelle throws out the first pitch. Madison Bumgarner, who has the same birthday as Jerry, takes the pitcher’s  mound for the Giants. It is a tie game after nine innings but the north side of California’s San Francisco Giants prevail to beat Chicago’s south side Cubs in a spectacular night for fans of the Grateful Dead and America’s pastime game of baseball.


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